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Vishen: Hi, I’m Vishen Lakhiani, founder of Mindvalley, the school for human transformation. You’re listening to the Mindvalley podcast where we’ll be bringing you the greatest teachers and thought leaders on the planet, they discuss the world’s most powerful ideas of personal growth for mind, body, spirit, and work. In this podcast, you’re gonna learn about a whole new way of living life by an incredible couple Jon and Missy Butcher. Jon and Missy Butcher are truly American entrepreneurial legends. They run some 20 companies including the famous Precious Moments Dolls company. And if you guys are familiar with those beautiful porcelain dolls, they are real hit at Christmas parties and in churches, Jon is the chairman of that company.

But that’s not what makes Jon and Missy Butcher so unique. What makes them unique is that when you speak to them, when you meet them, there is something truly unique about how they live life. They seem to be blessed with this incredible sense of luck. Everything about their life is extraordinary, they lived in a home so beautiful, Oprah, invited them on her show in the late ’90s to talk about their home, which is one of the first smart homes in America. They have such incredible help that Jon is in his 50s, he’s a grandfather, he is completely ripped. They have a marriage that is so beautiful, watching them is like watching a group of teenagers in love. They have grandkids and children but they live a life where they pluck their kids out of the American education system and take them on travel adventures around the world.

Jon is an entrepreneur, he’s an artist. Missy is a CEO, she is a mom, she is a world traveler, and part of this life happened to them because of a philosophy Jon call the Lifebook philosophy. He basically sat down with Missy, they divided their life into 12 categories including categories that they said most of us forget to pay attention to. See, most people focus on career, and money, and success at the expense of everything else. You’ve all heard about that entrepreneur who’s crushing it in business but has been working so hard his health is collapsing. Or you’ve heard about the guy who has this incredible family, incredible love relationship but he’s broke. Now, Jon and Missy didn’t want to fall into any of that buckets. They divided their life into 12 categories, and decided to look at the strategies to become extraordinary in everything, not just love and parenting and adventure and character, but in terms of their spiritual life, their emotional states, their intellectual life.

They started doing this in a leather-bound journal, they called their Lifebook. And then friends would come up to them and say “Hey, could you teach us to do a Lifebook?” And so Jon, some 13 years ago created a program called Lifebook, and he started teaching people to do this. And it became one of the most incredible programs that you can take. Because you see, modern goal setting is broken, it’s broken because our goals often don’t come from us, they come from society’s programming. We chase things that the media, that our parents, that are religious leaders tell us are important. And this means we live our lives more as copycats rather than true artists. Lifebook is about designing your life into a work of art, questioning the rules, the bullshit rules that society programs into you and creating a life that’s truly original yet balanced in all 12 dimensions. In this podcast, I’m bringing you Jon and Missy Butcher. I think you’re gonna love this conversation because they’re going to open your eyes up to all 12 categories, and give you a taste of what it means to truly turn your life into an extraordinary work of life.

I’m Vishen Lakhiani, and this is the Mindvalley podcast. So, in this podcast, we’re gonna talk about questioning the rules of life. As we grow up, we learn that there are certain things we have to believe about how the world has to function, you’ve got to get a good job, you’ve got to have a title, you’ve got to possibly go to college, you got to get good grades in school, you got to get married and live a particular life and have kids and have two cars in the garage, and so on and so on and so on. But, I’m sitting here with a couple that’s been together for 33 years, you’ve got, what, four kids three grandkids, you’ve started 20 businesses but more importantly Jon and Missy Butcher, who are with me right now, started Lifebook. And Lifebook was basically the genesis of their own world view of questioning everything about how life was meant to work and developing better models for it, better models for parenting, better models for education, better models for health, better models for relationship.

As a result, they’ve built a life so ridiculously extraordinary that, get this, Jon in his 50s is in better physical shape than most men at the age of 21. Their children were pulled out of school yet among the most smart gifted kids I’ve ever met. They live in a house so gorgeous, so intelligent, so beautiful that Oprah invited them on her show to talk about their home. They run… they have started 20 businesses and currently run six businesses yet have the freedom to take three to four months every year and live in exotic countries around the world often with their children and grandchildren. As I’m doing this interview, they are on holiday in Thailand for the next couple of months. They get to pursue their passions whether it’s art of filmmaking and they do this while living a life that most human beings would seem as…and they do this while living a life that to most human beings would seem almost dream-like. So, let me ask you guys, Jon and Missy, what the hell is going on?

Missy: Okay, first of all, that’s like the most… you make us feel so good. You say the most beautiful things about us and I’m like, “Wow, that’s amazing. Those people are awesome.”

Jon: Thank you as well.

Vishen: Well, I’ve got to say, you guys have been an inspiration. For those of you who haven’t heard of Lifebook, it’s this massive hit among entrepreneurs, it’s a four-day event. I took it with my wife in 2009 in Chicago and it completely changed me, right? So, let’s go on to… because we were having a conversation about this earlier over lunch, what is different about you guys that made you question the world in such a way?

Jon: Well, I think that, you know, Lifebook was the mechanism that we used to pull together the strategies that we’ve used to create the extraordinary life that we have, but there is something underlying that, and that is basically our personalities. I’m an artist, I’m from a family of artists. My dad is an artist so we kind of grew up differently. Miss is a farm girl from…

Missy: Yeah, I’m an artist as well.

Jon: …from Missouri, and we grew up poor. We didn’t have the same opportunities as other kids had. But from the very beginning, I think that my spirit, for sure, has been… I just never fit in the conventional society, never have, never felt a place there. Looked around me and said, “I’m not sure this is for me,” everything that seeing. When Missy and I got together, we were really young, we were in our 20s and we looked around us and we did not like what we saw, Vishen. We didn’t like the fact that, you know, most Americans get fat. They gain a pound a year all the way through their adult life, that’s the average American. We didn’t wanna go that direction. You know, most love relationships go in the tank after a few years and there’s a reason they call it the seven-year itch, right?

Fifty plus percent of American marriages end in divorce, we didn’t want to run that program. We looked at how most parents raise their kids, educated their kids, the relationship most parents had with their teenagers, didn’t want to run that program. And so I guess from the very beginning, Missy and I made a commitment to live a life that was uniquely ours, shaped according to our values, nobody else’s. And we developed what we called a respectful disregard for the way other people live. And I wanna stress the word respectful where we don’t begrudge other people the way they live, we’re not disrespectful of the way other people live. But we also completely disregard it when it comes to the way we wanna live. What we wanna do is this, we wanna to look around us and we wanna find the best practices in every aspect of human endeavor, and apply those best practices to our lives and see if it makes sense for us.

And if there aren’t best practices that we feel are adequate, we’re gonna make up our own and we’re going to experiment. Now, living like this comes with a little bit of risk because you’re experimenting, right? And sometimes things don’t work out but we found…

Missy: But you always learn in those circumstances.

Jon: We always learn and we found that the risk is well worth the effort.

Vishen: So let’s talk about some of the radical experiments that you guys are doing. Let’s start with may be what you’re doing with your kids.

Jon: Yeah. Well, you know, one of the most amazing things that we’ve done with our kids is, well, and this goes back to when our daughter Jade, who is now 17, when she was in second grade, we found out that she was dyslexic. And the way we found out she was dyslexic is because we get called into a parent-teacher conference, she was going to a school for gifted kids. And we found out that her second grade teacher who told us she was so far behind that she would never catch up, had been having students in the classroom tutor her in the corner while the rest of the class was going on. I wanted to come out of my chair, and this is why Missy doesn’t let me get within five miles of school usually, you know, I was just like, “So you’re telling me that you’re having kids in the classroom teach our daughter while everyone else…” and I was like, “Holy shit.” So, we decided right there and then, on the spot, we’re taking her out of school. We didn’t know what dyslexia was. My dad is severely dyslexic, I’m mildly dyslexic. It is an artist, it’s a learning difference that artists have, a lot of artists have.

Vishen: And many gifted people have dyslexia like which it runs…

Jon: It’s 100% correlated with above average intelligence but when you’re in second and third grade, and you’re struggling learning to read and write that’s when it hits you.

Missy: In a construct of schooling that is not open enough to understand how kids like this learn.

Jon: And so when you’ve got dyslexia in second and third grade is when it really comes up and reveals itself, and it reveals itself in the form of it’s very difficult for you to learn to read and write because your brain doesn’t work that way. And if the school isn’t dialed into that situation, what you learn in second and third grade is that you’re the dumbest kid in the school, and that can be devastating to a child’s self-esteem, devastating. So, we did two things, we yanked Jade out of school and I worked with her for 18 months. She is an artist, she’s a painter and we worked for two summers in a row. She painted every single Saturday and when Jade was eight years old, she had a solo show in a downtown Chicago gallery and sold it out completely.

Yeah, at the age of eight, 250 people showed up to the grand opening and the show sold out in 45 minutes, it was extraordinary. That took her self-esteem which was in the tank because of what had happened to her in second grade and it’s soared. The other thing we did that year is we said, “Let’s take our kids on a five-month trip to Southeast Asia.” And we packed up our stuff, we packed up our kids, and we took them to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos. We traveled up the Mekong River, we went down into Indonesia, and we taught our kids in 3D. We took them to the temples of Thailand and the night markets of Bali. And they’ll never forget that experience as long as they lived. Well, that set us on a course where that became our standard operating procedure. And so for the next 10 or so years, we took our kids out of school, out of public school for three to five months a year, and took them some place to live in the world. We’ve lived in the Middle East, we’ve lived in South Africa, we’ve lived in Central America, and that was one of the most amazing things we did right.

Vishen: I remember you guys saying in a conversation I had with you or something I saw in a Lifebook class, I remember this quote from you, “I believe my kids will learn more haggling in the bazaars of Egypt than in the American public schools.”

Jon: Absolutely, and I stand by that.

Missy: We’ll see how they turn out.

Vishen: Missy, I’ve met your kids, I’ve met Jade. They were just doing best with you, and they radiate like confidence and brilliance. They are truly remarkable kids.

Jon: Yeah. So, you know, that’s one of the things that we’ve done with our kids that has been really different.

Missy: And it was amazing that first year that I learned how our kids learned that first year. We didn’t do any normal school, it was all we made it up ourselves. It was like, “What do you guys wanna learn about? We’re gonna travel, we’re going to learn about world cultures.” But I really learned how they learned specifically because both of them have learning differences, the younger too. And that was remarkable and that really started us on the course of homeschooling and taking full responsibility to teach our kids what we think they need to know. And really now it’s like, “What do you guys think you wanna know? What do you think?” They know better now what they need to know than we even do.

Jon: And I think the fundamental premise that is so important that I just want to state here is that parents have abdicated the responsibility for educating their children to the government. And the big breakthrough that you need to make if you’re a parent is that it’s not the government’s job to educate your kid, it’s your job. And if you want to use government schools as a part of that, that’s fine especially when it comes to teaching the subjects that are not easy or fun to teach like math, reading, these take time. I mean, truthfully, some of those subjects are… there are certain people that are cut out to teach that stuff, that’s not easy, fun stuff to teach, right? But there’s so much more to life than those academic subjects, and we want to make sure that our kids know the most important things that they don’t teach in school.

Vishen: So, let’s talk about that for a moment. What are the most important things that’s not being taught in school?

Jon: Well, one of the most important things is this, we go to school for 20 years, we learn about every subject in the world except for money, don’t teach that at all. We learn about cumulus clouds, we learn about igneous rocks, we learn about everything under the sun, and then we leave school. And we spend the rest of our lives trying to make money, a subject which we’ve been taught absolutely nothing about in school, nothing. That’s ridiculous that’s unforgettable. So that’s one thing that we want to teach our kids is, the fundamentals of wealth creation, “How do you create wealth for yourself?” Well, you do it by creating value for others. So it’s that whole entrepreneurial system that’s important to us.

Missy: Also finding their life purpose, their interests, what are they want to aspire to become. That doesn’t happen in the usual public school.

Jon: Schools don’t even try to do that, yeah.

Missy: I remember, I wanted to share one thing that I remember years ago. Jon and I had an epiphany and this, I think, changed the course of our life in this respect. We’re talking about we don’t really, you know, adhere to normal constructs. And it was when we had just a discussion one night and we realized everything in the world was created and thought of by someone.

Jon: Yeah. I know Steve Jobs’ baby who have that… Steve Jobs said the quote that… he said, “What changed my life is when I realized that all of what we’re surrounded by, someone had to come up with.”

Vishen: Yeah, and he said it was made up by someone no smarter than you. And when you realized, you can change that, you can change things, your life will never be the same again.

Jon: And that’s what happened to us. So we did that with our… the way we parent our kids. We did that with our love and sex life, that’s another area of our life that we put a tremendous amount of focus on and just we do it different, and we do it better. And that’s what where we’re interested in.

Missy: It’s another thing we want to teach our kids. No one teaches our kids about sex.

Vishen: Right.

Jon: Exactly.

Vishen: So first let’s roll that quote from Steve Jobs.

Steve: “When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is, and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. But life, that’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader. Once you discover one simple fact, and that is everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. And the minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something, you know, if you push in something will pop out the other side that you can change and you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing.”

Vishen: Okay. So, let’s go deeper. You just mentioned your sex life, so let’s go from kids to what made the kids. So say something about you that I find truly interesting, right? Both of you being together for 33 years now.

Jon: We’ve known each other for 33, we’ve been lovers for 28.

Vishen: Okay. That itself is really, really long. I mean it’s relatively long. The second thing that’s really interesting about you guys is, you guys are constantly just touching each other. You can’t keep your arms off each other. It’s like looking at two teenagers who started dating last Sunday. And the third thing about it is both of you guys, for your age, are ridiculously remarkably fit and healthy, I mean, Jon you’re seriously ripped, Missy, you’re gorgeous.

Missy: Thank you.

Vishen: I believe that’s probably a connection between all of this.

Jon: Absolutely.

Vishen: Let’s talk about that.

Jon: Okay. Well, you know, what Missy and I did is the first year of our relationship, we made a conscious commitment to explore sensuality and eroticism deeply. We were both very interested in it. You know, when we came together it was like two frigging comets colliding. And so we made a commitment to really learn about sex and explore it deeply, so that’s one aspect. And another aspect is that we put rituals and rhythms around our love and sex life. And this is so important because, you know, one of the things that I talk about in the Lifebook program is the concept of entropy, which is basically, in this universe that we live in, this universe is designed to deconstruct systems, Newton proved this. And so you can get married, you have a relationship but the bottom line is over time that relationship is gonna deteriorate, over time your body will deteriorate, over time everything falls apart unless you put constant positive energy back into the system.

The best way to do that is to create structured rhythms where you can make sure that that’s gonna happen. It takes on an automatic quality to it. So, we have a daily connection ritual, we have, you know, we walk around our beautiful garden. We talk about our life, we catch up from the day, we have a weekly overnight date. We have for the last 26, 27 years, no matter where we are in the world without the kids, and this is what most marriages are missing. The kids come, the job heats up, and the first thing that goes is intimate time together. We’ve never allowed that to happen. Our love relationship is our number one priority, and because we know that if we’re solid everything is solid, our businesses are solid, our kids solid, our household is solid. So, we’ve just made an immense commitment to our love and sex life because it’s literally the foundation of our life.

Missy: And having a lot of sex, good sex, you wanna have a good body, you wanna look good, you wanna feel good. I wanna be sexy for him all the time, he wants the same for me. So, it’s his feedback loop that we’ve created that we don’t miss workouts, we take good care of ourselves so that our sex in general keep going.

Jon: Right, it’s all tied together.

Vishen: That leads me to something else, right? So, you just spoke about how it’s important to teach your kids to be entrepreneurs, to teach them how to increase their income by giving value to the world. Yet, we all know that most entrepreneurs live broken lives. And I don’t have the exact number but I would be able to guess that 80% of the entrepreneurs in the world have some aspect of their life that’s broken. And they think that becoming an entrepreneur is gonna fix it but they’re more stressed out than ever, they’re probably earning as much as they would if they had a regular job. But, now they have all of that added risk, and because of that risk, they may be seeing their relationships break down or they’re losing touch with their spouse or their children.

Now, your model of entrepreneurship is completely different. Lifebook get someone to divide their life into 12 categories. And in a moment, guys, we’re gonna list out the 12 categories for you for those who are curious. But only two of them are the traditional categories of success and money, right? The other 10 are radically different. And when I took Lifebook I was surprised at some of these categories because I was never consciously paying attention to them.

Jon: Right. That’s right.

Vishen: So, what you are teaching people to do is to not just be an entrepreneur but to really have it all in life and have balance, and not be the guy who’s crushing it at work but it’s a weight. Or the person who’s bringing home those incredible checks but has lost a relationship with her husband and is losing the relationship with their teenage son. Let’s talk about Lifebook, and let’s talk about how you’re teaching people to bring this radical form and beautiful form of balance into their lives.

Jon: Well, one of the things that we’ve discovered over the last 25 years, Vishen, is that every category has a profound effect on every other category. They’re all supported by and support each other. So, if you want to do well in your career, it’s probably a good idea for you to be in decent physical shape. You’re gonna have more energy, you’re gonna be able to think more clearly. If you wanna do well in your career, it’s better to have a love relationship that supports you as opposed to gives you a ton of stress, right? So, the reason that we look at all 12 of these categories and go so deeply into each one of them is to make sure that no important area of our life is being left behind or left out or left to chance. Because what happens is you get, you know, blinders on, you get laser focused on something and then all of…

Missy: Especially entrepreneurs.

Jon: Especially entrepreneurs who are usually pretty passionate, sometimes obsessed, with their mission, it’s easy to let some of these other categories fall by the wayside. And what we’ve learned is that none of these categories are electives, they’ve all got to be attended to if you wanna have an extraordinary life.

Missy: They’re all pieces of your life.

Vishen: So, let’s list the 12 categories for our listeners.

Jon: Okay. So, we divide them into three sections, basically: your personal life, your relationships, and your business life. So, there are five personal life categories: they are your health and fitness, foundational obviously; your intellectual life which is incredibly important, this is where learning and growing lives; your emotional life, which is you can make an argument that that’s what everything adds up to, your job is to be happy on this planet and that’s where happiness lives in your emotional life.

Vishen: So your emotional life is basically the category that governs how you want to feel on a consistent basis.

Jon: Exactly right.

Vishen: Because most people don’t set goals for that.

Jon: The emotions that you experience on a consistent basis. We’ve learned that you can actually set goals and create strategies so that you can experience more of the emotions that are desirable to you and less of the emotions that you don’t want to experience, those negative emotions. The next category is phenomenal and it’s your character. What kind of a person do you want to become? What kind of a life do you want to live? And what kind of a person gets a life like that? That’s an awesome category.

Vishen: Give us an example of what someone might put down in terms of their character.

Jon: Well, you might…you take a look at yourself and you say, “What character trait, if I was able to powerfully implement it in my life, would push my life forward in the best possible way?”

Missy: Most people say…

Jon: Number one is self-discipline. The number one trait that most people know they need is a little more self-discipline.

Missy: And that’s a powerful one. That’s a foundational…

Jon: Right. But you could pick compassion. You could pick empathy, you could pick kindness, you could pick self-assertiveness, appropriately self-assertive, etc. So that’s a game-changer category to explore. And most people never give two seconds of thought to that in their entire lives. The last personal life category is your spiritual life, that’s a deep awesome category to explore, and purpose in life usually lives in the spiritual category. So, those are the five personal life categories. The three love relation, I’m sorry, the three relationship categories are your love life, number one, parenting, your relationship with your children, number two, and your social life relationship with your friends.

Vishen: Which again is really interesting. When most people think about their life and the visions for their life, they tend to leave out… I bet most people do think about relationships, they tend to forget about kids and parenting. And of course, that’s optional, you don’t have to have kids. But social life, it’s so fascinating that you bring in social life because I remember the famous “Very happy people” study at Harvard by Ed Diener, right? It found that they studied everything to see what correlates with happiness, and ultimately everything we’re chasing in life is because with happiness. And what they found that happiness wasn’t correlated with warm weather, or good looks, or health as much as one thing, and this one thing was the only thing that correlated with happiness, specifically for those of you who are science junkies that had a 0.7 correlation, and that one thing was the strength of your social connections. And I love the fact that Lifebook emphasizes that. I’d love for you to talk about that.

Jon: There are a few massive studies on this. The Grant Study was another one that Harvard did that showed that exact same thing. So what’s so interesting, Vishen, is that before Lifebook, our social life was our weakest category by far. Missy and I have huge families, we like to spend all of our time together, we didn’t have any rules around our social life, anyone that walked in our front door was like our friend, right? And I’d say that our biggest growth in the last five to 10 years has been in this category, and my God what a game changer. The people you spend your time with, like you said, biggest determinant of success and happiness, so that’s a sleeper. You go into that category thinking, “Oh, it’s gonna, be we’re gonna talk about our friends now.”

Missy: Yeah. For years we actually discounted it, personally, we were like, “Ah..” I mean, I remember thinking, “Our social is fine. We’re not gonna focus on that.” But after we went through Lifebook about six years ago, six or seven years ago, like, “Oh, my gosh, this is our biggest area of weakness, our biggest area of growth.”

Jon: And our biggest potential.

Missy: Yeah. So we really focused on it that year, and my God our life is like…

Jon: Just took off. Yeah, it’s unbelievable. So that one is a sleeper, yeah, you’re right. And then we have your financial life and your career are two business categories. And then the last two categories at the end of the program are your overall quality of life, which is a wonderful fun category to explore. That’s where your material possessions live, that’s where the experience you wanna create for yourself, your home lives there, that’s just sort…it’s a fun light awesome category. And then it all adds up to your life vision. We take we take all the work that you do in defining what you want across all these categories of your life. And we pull it all together at the end of the program into a crystal clear compelling vision for the life that you want to live, and now you can begin to move toward that zone.

Vishen: So, how does life vision differ from the other 11 categories?

Jon: It’s the combination of them, it’s the combination, so…

Missy: And you future-pace it as well.

Jon: Yeah. Your life vision is the sum of your visions across 12 categories.

Vishen: So is that like your legacy?

Jon: It’s overall target that you want to move toward in the future, right? Yeah, so those are the 12 categories of Lifebook.

Vishen: So, for those who are listening, what’s really interesting about this is that when most of the set goals, here is the problem with goalsetting and I think the entire Western model of goalsetting is severely broken. Because here’s what happens, when we set goals we’re often not setting goals that come from aha but goals that society says we need to pursue. This is why, for example, so many Americans become lawyers, they work their butts off to get to law school, to graduate with good grades, to finally become a partner in a law firm, become a lawyer, only to find that a whopping… I think the statistic is 50% of women lawyers in America are clinically depressed, right? They spend years chasing the wrong goal because they were seduced by… we all know the television programs Ally McBeal, L.A. Law, and that doesn’t just happen to people who become lawyers, it happens to so many of us.

We set goals not based on what our heart is telling us to do but based on our parents, our media, our politicians, what we learn in school. And what Lifebook is doing, is Lifebook is saying, “Hey, wait. Look, firstly, there’s more to life than just career and your job title and your money. You’ve got to look at life holistically.” And you’re saying, “You’ve got to ask yourself the question, ‘What is it that you want?'” And the Lifebook seminar guides people through that.

Jon: It does. We’ve literally hacked that process. What we’ve learned is this. Goalsetting against a crystal-clear life vision is a different universe than setting goals in a vacuum. And here’s the reason, because, so you can set a New Year’s goal to make $100,000 and to lose 30 pounds, right? But, your goal to make $100,000 may completely conflict with something else you want which is a great love relationship, some time with your kids, etc. When you set, when you take the time to define an overall vision for your life that takes into consideration all the important aspects of your life, and then you set goals against that, what that does is it aligns all of your goals. They’re all moving in the same direction, they’re all working toward the same thing. There is no contradictions anywhere. You get all of your energy flowing in the same direction and the power that that creates is just a different universe than traditional goalsetting.

Vishen: Right. And then you guide people in the Lifebook seminar, you guide people in a process to establish these goals. So tell us what happens in a Lifebook seminar.

Jon: So, in the Lifebook seminar, basically what it is, is you’re sitting down and you’re watching 14 interactive movies that’s what Lifebook is, it’s watching movies. But during these movies, you’re going to be…they’re interactive like I said. You’re gonna be thinking and you’re gonna be writing. We’re gonna inspire you, we’re gonna encourage you, we’re gonna prompt you, we’re gonna motivate you. And the big difference between Lifebook and just about any other personal development program out there is that the valuable information in this program comes from you, not at you. We’re not sitting there preaching to you, telling you what you should want, telling you what should do. We’re pulling out of you what you really want to become, why you want to become that, what you need to do in order to make that happen. So, Lifebook is an empty system that you fill up with your own aspirations, goals, desires, strategies, right? And then how you do that is you watch these movies, and during these movies, you’ll be prompted to answer questions and that’s literally what the Lifebook process is.

Vishen: When you walk out of that seminar, you end up with a binder, a beautiful leather binder with an entire gorgeous, I think it’s almost 80-page description of your life.

Jon: Eighty to 120 vividly illustrated with your own photographs, and it’s just this gorgeous book that you wrote about yourself.

Vishen: And it’s not just a series of goals, you’re looking at four different dimensions of each area.

Jon: Yes, exactly. So, let me explain that. So, in each category of life, and I went through the 12 categories, we ask four questions. And these questions, the answers to these four questions are what make up your Lifebook. So, the first question we ask is, “What are the beliefs that you have in this category that control your behavior? What do you believe about health and fitness?” Like, one of my beliefs is, “My body was designed to be well, and if I simply take care of it, it’ll take care of me, right? I don’t need a bunch of prescription drugs. I have everything I need if I eat right and exercise.” Another one of my premises is, “I am going to be a strong muscular athlete all my life.” I’ve had that promise for 25 years solid, right? And this kind of stuff is what controls your behavior. So what do you believe a great love relationship looks like? What is that all about? What do you believe about money? Do you believe that the love of money is the root of all evil? If you do, you’re gonna have trouble making money probably.

Missy: We help you find those faulty beliefs and move them out and create a new one.

Vishen: So another big issue with goalsetting is that we’re setting goals based on our beliefs but our beliefs could be faulty.

Jon: Exactly. So, we examine beliefs in 12 categories. Second question we ask is, “What, with clarity, do you want in this category of your life? What do you want in your love relationship? What do you want from your career? What do you want in your health and fitness?” Clearly, specifically, have the courage to ask for what you really want and then write it down.

Vishen: So this is the vision…

Jon: This is your vision.

Vishen: …that you’re setting for every category. Okay, so those of you listening, I want you to pay attention to this. When you are truly setting goals properly, you’re not just listing your vision of what you want. Firstly, you’re looking at it from 12 different dimensions. Secondly, you’re not just thinking about the vision, you’re also looking at your beliefs. So, as Jon calls it, your premise. Now there are two additional questions here.

Jon: So premise, “What do I believe?” Vision, “What do I want?” Purpose, “Why do I want it?”

Vishen: Why? The why.

Missy: This is the why.

Jon: This is why. This is the driving force behind whether or not you will get what you want. So, why do you want to get in great shape? So I can fit into that wedding dress next month. Well, that’s a pretty wishy-washy reason, right? How about so that I could set a great example for my kids, so that I can be attractive to my mates, so that I can have a better sex life, so that I can think more clearly, so I can make more money, so I can feel better about myself. You wanna pump up that purpose, those reasons. So that’s the third question, “Why do I want it?” And then lastly, “What do you need to do to get it? What’s your strategy? What are you gonna do to make that happen? What do I believe? What do I want? Why do I want it? What do I need to do to get it in every important area of life?” Your Lifebook is an answer to those questions across 12 categories. And it’s profound to do this work. You can’t bring this much consciousness to your life and not transform. It’s as simple as that.

Vishen: That’s amazing. And I was just reading an article about a company that’s called Listen Up Espanol. So this article was in CNBC just three weeks ago. The founder of the company, Craig Handley, he…the article is about the CEO who encourages his employees to leave after week one, right? And what Craig Handley, who is the American owner of Listen Up Espanol which is based in Mexico is, he wanted to create a really incredible environment for his Mexican employees. I think he has like 2,000 employees. So, using Lifebook, he helps them create a vision for their life. And then I believe at the end of one week he tells them that, “Look, if they want to leave because this vision has given them clarity and they feel they don’t belong in the company or there’s something else they want to do, it’s okay.” He’ll pay them their week’s salary, he would have comped the process and they can leave. And apparently nobody leaves because he’s created so much loyalty into the company.

Jon: Was that an article in Forbes Magazine?

Vishen: It was in CNBC.

Jon: Oh, CNBC. Okay, yeah.

Vishen: CNBC.

Jon: I saw that.

Vishen: And here is the other thing. So, at Mindvalley, this year we started giving Lifebook free to all of our employees.

Jon: Yeah, absolutely.

Vishen: So we put over a 100 employees through Lifebook. And because Lifebook is something so incredible when you do it as a couple, we bring their spouses in for free, so we literally sent, this month we sent something like 35 people to a mountain retreat, right, for four days to do Lifebook. Now, here is the crazy statistic. If you run a business, just pay attention to this, one year ago, we had an attrition rate of 15% which means that we have over 200 employees, every year roughly, 15% of our staff turnover, right? This year, since we started doing this, so we did our first Lifebook batch in February, we just did our second batch in November, right, so now we’ve put over 100 people through it, attrition didn’t go up. You would think, right, that if you give your employees this massive goalsetting program and you have them plan this incredible vision for their lives and what they wanna do, and who they wanna be, they might leave you. But our turnover fell to 5%, which is actually considered unhealthy because if companies have less than 10% turnover that means that…

Jon: Let me just say this though, that’s because you have got an extraordinary place to work. I will tell you that it wouldn’t be like that for everybody.

Vishen: Well, that’s true but we’ve been doing all of these extraordinary ways.

Jon: Exactly.

Vishen: For the last 10 years, right, I mean this office, this beautiful office you’re in, we’re here since 2010 so that’s been seven years. But what changed this year was that we started putting our people through Lifebook, that was the single biggest thing we did.

Missy: Incredible.

Jon: Beautiful. I wanna to go back to something you said about couples going through, because I will tell you that Lifebook is one of the most extraordinary tools that a couple could ever have to help guide their marriage, and here’s why. Because 90% of the problems that a couple will have in their marriage will be as a result of not being on the same page in one or more of these categories. She is a spender and he is a saver. He is a disciplinarian and she is lenient with the kids. You know, they have not gotten it together in one or more of these areas, and Lifebook is a platform for you to think through, and work through, and talk through, and smooth out all of those areas, and get on the same page. Missy and I never fight about anything important. We can be crabby with each other every once in a while or just the normal stuff but there’s nothing important for us to fight about.

Vishen: That’s also because of all the sex you have.

Jon: Well, yeah, exactly. That helps.

Missy: Good communication.

Jon: But truthfully, we don’t argue about anything meaningful…

Missy: We’ve done that. We already did it all.

Jon: …because we have worked through all of our stuff and Lifebook is the tool that we’ve used to navigate that.

Vishen: That’s incredible. So, I hope you guys got a ton out of this conversation. Now, there are so many resources on Lifebook where you can learn more. Strongly encourage you to think about bringing this program into your companies or to take a Lifebook seminar, or to take Lifebook on a Quest app. But for those of you who wanna dive in deeper, here a couple of three resources you can look at. Number one, go to Mindvalley’s YouTube channel and look for our playlist. There is a playlist with Jon and Missy of Lifebook, and it has Jon and Missy on video giving you just incredible ideas on everything from rethinking parenting, to rethinking your love life, to rethinking how you travel around the world. It’s really, really, really truly remarkable ideas.

And then secondly, on Mindvalley’s Quest app there is a free seven-day program from Jon that trains you how to unscrew yourself from the bullshit goalsetting routines and programs that the industrial world education system drills into you. So, check that out. It’s seven days, you’re gonna do a little exercise with Jon for 10 to 15 minutes every day, and you’re going to start thinking about the world in a completely different way. Finally, go to and there’ll be a list of the 12 categories, the four questions, and that itself should inspire you to think about your life in a completely different way. And there you’ll also be able to see information on Lifebook seminars around the world as well less My Lifebook Online. Which for those of you who don’t wanna travel or can’t stand getting on a plane, it’s a way where you can take the Lifebook seminar online with other graduates with Jon and Missy directly teaching you.

And, guys, thank you so much because Lifebook is one of the reasons, I mean, you just complimented me on Mindvalley and what we do. And I can tell you that one of the reasons we have this office space that you’re in, won an award, right, in 2012 it was Inc. Magazine one of the top 10 world’s coolest workplaces. We’ve won awards for having the most beautiful office in Malaysia. My apartment won an award, a Silver award for best condo in the city. But all of that came because Lifebook showed me how I should be setting goals for my environments, that was just one way. Mindvalley U, that was also inspired by you guys. When I heard in Lifebook about how you travel around the world with your kids, I asked myself the question, “How could I build my life, engineer my life, so I could spend a month with my family and my kids in an exotic city, a different city every year? The result was Mindvalley U.

So, the most remarkable thing about this is when you start creating these visions for your life, it’s weird but your brain gets so activated…

Jon: So true, right?

Vishen: …and the right answers, the right solutions come together. So, some of you might be thinking, “Well, look, it’s easy for Jon to be able to take four months off and live in Bali with his beautiful spouse and his kids. I can’t do that.” But the fact is if you start building your Lifebook, when you start setting those visions for yourself, you will be shocked at how the right opportunities, the right answers, the right thinking, the right business models start coming to you. It’s as if it…

Jon: Activate something.

Vishen: …bends your life, it activates something, and your life starts moving. That won’t happen in the first year or maybe it might. I mean for me it took several years before the stuff I put down in my Lifebook became real, but you’ve got to start somewhere and Lifebook is that catalyst.

Jon: Beautiful.

Missy: Awesome.

Jon: Thanks so much, Vishen. It’s been great spending this time with you.

Missy: We love you. We do.

Vishen: Thanks, guys. Enjoyed having you. And you’ve been listening to the Mindvalley podcast. Hope to see you on our next episode.



The Mindvalley Podcast aims to bring to you the greatest teachers and thought leaders on the planet to discuss the world's most powerful ideas in personal growth for mind, body, spirit, and work.

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